For media enquiries or to connect with researchers in the MacVicar Lab at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, please contact Emily Wight, Communications Manager.

For general enquiries about MacVicar Lab activities, please contact Katherine Rhodes at

Trainee Profile: Dr. Simon Chen Apr 21, 2016

"In Dr. Haas’ lab, we identified the involvement of the transcription factor MEF2 in regulating metaplasticity by accident. The finding was totally unexpected," says Dr. Simon Chen, who completed his PhD in Dr. Kurt Haas’ lab at UBC. Dr.

UBC showcases its strengths as neurologists meet in Vancouver Apr 14, 2016

As 12,000 neurologists descend on Vancouver for the American Academy of Neurology’s 68th annual meeting this week, the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health is poised to make the most of the opportunity to showcase our clinical and scientific leadership in the field.

Three Centre members will be giving talks at plenary sessions the world’s largest gathering of neurologists, taking place at the Vancouver Convention Centre April 15-21:

APEC collaboration to address the economic burden of mental illness Apr 11, 2016

On April 13, 2016, the World Bank and the World Health Organization will co-host their first-ever high-level meeting on mental health and economic prosperity in Washington, DC. According to the World Bank, the meeting  “aims to move mental health from the margins to the mainstream of the global development agenda” and will bring together finance ministers, inter-governmental organizations, and business, academic, and civic leaders to promote critical investments in mental health around the globe.

New Medical Manager for Alzheimer and dementia clinic Apr 8, 2016

The UBC Hospital Clinic for Alzheimer Disease and Related Disorders (UBCH CARD) announced this week that Dr. Haakon Nygaard has been appointed to the role of Medical Manager of the clinic. Located within the Djavad Mowafaghian Center for Brain Health at the UBC Hospital, the clinic was under the leadership of Dr. Howard Feldman until his departure from UBC in March.

ALS spread in brain
Pathological protein found to trigger spread of ALS Mar 21, 2016

A protein that was once thought to be involved in only hereditary cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) evidently misfolds in all cases of ALS, finds new research from Dr. Neil Cashman’s laboratory.

Clinic, blurred
Differences between MS clinic and non-clinic users indicate knowledge gaps and more, study finds Mar 16, 2016

If most of what we know about multiple sclerosis (MS) patients comes from patients who access MS- clinics, how much do we really know about MS patients? New research from Kyla McKay and Dr. Elaine Kingwell, part of the Pharmacoepidemiology in Multiple Sclerosis (PiMS) research team led by Dr. Helen Tremlett, evaluated population-level data on new cases of MS between 1996 and 2004.

Alex Rauscher
New funding to shine a light on MS-related brain injury Mar 14, 2016

With the help of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Dr. Alex Rauscher is finding ways to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure injury to the brain caused by multiple sclerosis (MS) and, by extension, to quantify how prescribed therapies can prevent or slow damage.

From Bugs to Brains: Event Recap Mar 10, 2016

Dr. Helen Tremlett and her team brought together researchers from a variety of disciplines for a half-day event to foster collaborative efforts in gut microbiome research and its relation to brain health on February 5, 2016.

Mobile device / smartphone in hands.
Smartphones need a redesign to improve brain function: Q&A with Dr. Peter Reiner Mar 5, 2016

Rather than improving our mental abilities, smartphones are increasingly blamed for ruining our brains. We replace valuable face-to-face social interactions with a constant virtual connection and complain that it’s harder to concentrate.

Bacteria in the gut may mean the difference between relapse and remission in kids with MS Mar 1, 2016

New research, published this week in Journal of the Neurological Sciences, shows that a reduced abundance of a particular bacterial phylum in the gut is associated with subsequent relapse risk in pediatric multiple sclerosis (MS). The pilot study, led by Dr. Helen Tremlett and Dr. Emmanuelle Waubant (University of California, San Francisco), may offer a potential drug target to decrease relapse risk in some patients.